This room is similarly minimalistic as the last, though the windows in here are boarded up and the only light is that emitted from multiple more pages hanging from the ceiling. This room is larger than the last and the primary difference is the volume of tomes here. Multiple high stacks of them flank the three people present in the room. Two men and one woman, Cyrilla can tell immediately which of them is the boss.
She sits immediately across from the doorway, an elderly dark-skinned woman in her late-60s with scars all across her body and tattoos similar to Draego’s covering her arms. Her eyes are already trained on Draego before he even enters the room. Her eyes are bright and yet still they drill through Draego like needles.
“Francis!” one of the two men speaks up, “brought a girl back this time, did you? Looks like you still have some youth left in you!” he chortles. A giant of a man, though comparatively elderly to the woman. Of everyone she’s seen so far, this man appears to be the least battle-worn. Draego opens his mouth to retort but as he inhales the large man happily continues; “did you bring any tomes back for me?” As he asks this, Cyrilla takes note of the fact that he has far more tomes piled up around him than the other two.
“Shiva’s handling them now. I got five, a couple of them are from the head family so you’d better appreciate it. Y’know, I shouldn’t have to get toys for someone-”
Draego is interrupted once again by a hearty “the head family?!” The large man stands to his full height, at which he towers over the already tall Draego. He practically doubles Cyrilla’s height. “I have to see this! Good work, Draego, my boy!” he gushes as he rushes to move past the two in the doorway.
“You know Shiva hates it when you just do what you want before she’s written everything down, right?” Draego sighs.
“Nonsense! My expertise is ever a boon to her progress! Now, if you’ll excuse…” he shuffles past, through the doorway smaller than he is.
“Shortcoming, stubbornness,” Shiva shouts from the other room.
As soon as the large man passes, Draego’s attention immediately returns to the boss as if the exchange hadn’t happened. What he didn’t notice is the boss has already stood up from her desk and has taken Cyrilla by the hand.
“It’s so nice to meet you. It means to world to meet another person willing to fight for our cause. Come- things must have been hard for you, take a seat,” she offers as she pulls Cyrilla over to her desk. Completely caught up in her pace, Cyrilla is easily ushered into her vacant seat.
“Draego may have told you already but I’m the boss of this R.U.N.N. base, Anna Reiverk. Tell me, what’s your name and how much do you know about us?” she asks with a comforting tone.
“I’m Cyrilla and… I don’t really know anything about all of this. Until today, I didn’t know anyone lived outside the border,” Cyrilla admits.
“… So, Draego hasn’t told you anything?” Anna’s tone darkens.
“Well, he mentioned that R.U.N.N. stands for the rebel uprising of no-names…”
“Let me get this straight, Draego brought you out here despite the fact that you had no idea what you were getting yourself into?”
Draego silently sweats in the background.
Cyrilla spots the panic on his face and quickly responds “well, yes, but… I wanted to get out of there. When he took me, anything was better than what would have happened otherwise. I owe the rest of my life to him, so don’t be mad-”
She’s suddenly stopped as she feels the weight of Anna’s hands on her shoulders. Her grip is strong, ridiculously so. “Out here, ‘the rest of your life’ could mean just a few days. A handful of hours in the worst scenario. Is that really what you want?” she worries.
“Yes,” Cyrilla gives her answer without missing a beat. “Draego has shown me that much. I know I’m weak now, especially now that I’ve seen everyone here, but… I’m going to survive,” she states as she lightly places a hand over one of Anna’s. “If there’s one thing I know, it’s that.”
Anna is visibly surprised by Cyrilla’s sureness, spurring Draego into vigorous laughter. “I had the same reaction! She has what it takes, Anna, I reckon she might even be the one to bring about a big change on this continent!”
Anna quickly turns her head and her serious stare paralyzes Draego once again. “That doesn’t excuse the fact that you told her nothing beforehand. Regardless of the situation, that is inexcusable. Also, your trips to the city invariably result in damages due to your complete inability to operate covertly, which I will have you report to me later. How you survive trips between bases with your reckless inclination is beyond me,” she seethes. Then, she swiftly turns back to Cyrilla. “I have high hopes for you, Cyrilla. With that attitude, you’ll no doubt achieve great things here. I don’t want to hear you ever calling yourself weak again, though. No weak person could ever say those works with that look in her eyes.”
Cyrilla nods and assures “I’ll do everything I can. I want to uncover all the mysteries of this continent and I won’t die until that’s done!”
Anna smiles and finally takes her hands from Cyrilla’s shoulders. “Hold on to those dreams. They’ll keep you alive in the harder times. Before all that, you need to be filled in on what it is we do.